Open-pit mining has commenced at Sandfire Resources Ltd.’s Motheo copper mine in Botswana, southern Africa. This marks another key milestone toward first copper production in the Kalahari Copper Belt. First copper production from Phase 3 is expected in the fourth quarter of 2024.

First pre-strip material was mined at the T3 Open Pit deposit in late March, approximately one week ahead of schedule against the project execution plan, with mining currently making excellent progress.

The start of open pit mining by Sandfire’s contracting partner, African Mining Services (AMS), a division of Perenti Global Ltd., marks another important milestone toward the start of copper production in CY2023.

Motheo is a substantial new long-life copper mine and one of the few new copper mines under construction anywhere in the world. It is expected to become the cornerstone of a long-term copper mining hub for Sandfire in the world-class Kalahari Copper Belt.

“The start of open-pit mining operations represents another important step on the road to production, and to have achieved this milestone ahead of schedule is a testament to the hard work of our project execution team in Botswana, led by Project Director Ian Kerr,” Sandfire Managing Director and CEO Karl Simich said. “In addition to the start of mining, we have also made important progress with construction of the process plant and other site infrastructure, putting us on track to deliver first production from Motheo in the first half of 2023.”

The feasibility study for the 5.2-million-metric-ton-per-year (mt/y) expansion case at Motheo is nearly complete, due for completion in the June quarter of this year.